Vice President Joe Biden, just back from the pope's inauguration in Italy, welcomed the Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny -- known as Taoiseach -- to his house at the Naval Observatory Wednesday for his traditional St Patrick’s Day breakfast.
Kenny told the guests that he had spoken with Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. and Pat Leahy, D-Vt., and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, about rewriting U.S. immigration laws. He said he hoped that lawmakers could introduce a bill by the end of the summer “which would be good for America, good for the many different nationalities that are here and certainly important in an Irish sense where we have 50,000 undocumented.”
Kenny said that the 50,000 illegal Irish immigrants in the U.S. “want to be legitimized and they want to contribute legitimately to the United States, and we hope that can come about.” He wished Biden luck “as you struggle to get a fix on the economy here with your colleagues here in the administration and on the Hill,” he said. “[It is] never an easy thing to do but I think you are focused in the right direction and let’s hope that works out in the interests of the world and the United States.”
More than 40 guests -- wearing green ties, clad in green and wearing sprigs of shamrock -- dined on scrambled eggs, pancakes and a bread basket of Irish soda bread and scones and were entertained by The Bog Bang, an Irish music and dance group. Guests included Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Vicki Kennedy, the widow of the late Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy.
The breakfast was scheduled to take Tuesday, March 19th but was postponed until Wednesday because of Biden's vist to Rome.
In his speech, Biden said that he was five-eighths Irish and that his aunt had said that the remaining part was English through his father. He will visit Ireland later this year.